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Virtual avatar lets you experience being a 4-year-old

作者:亓觅    发布时间:2017-05-18 08:00:40    

By Sandrine Ceurstemont Video: Become a child again Think you’re all grown up? Placing yourself in the virtual body of a 4-year-old will send you right back to your halcyon days. Mel Slater of the University of Barcelona in Spain and colleagues put 30 people in a virtual reality (VR) environment in the body of a 4-year-old child or a scaled-down adult the same height as the child. The virtual body, which moved in sync with movements of the real body, could be viewed from a first-person perspective and in a mirror in the VR environment. All of the people judged virtual objects to be bigger than they actually were, but those embodying a child made worse guesses. It has been argued that we reference our own body size to judge the size of objects. Now Slater’s team has shown that higher-level cognitive processes, perhaps memory of childhood, may also be at work. Prior research by Slater’s team shows that when a person acquires a body type they have never experienced, social and cultural expectations often influence how they relate to the new body. Things we experience in a virtual landscape can also have profound effects on our behaviour in the real world: in a separate study by researchers at Stanford University in California, giving people superhero powers in a virtual environment made them behave in a more helpful manner in real life. The researchers say that brain imaging studies would help them to understand the reorganisation that occurs when assimilating a new body. The motivation springs from a project looking at how to embody people in child-sized robots. “We thought we ought to look at the consequences of that first,” says Slater. Previous embodiment illusions have successfully turned men into girls and helped people accept a rubber hand as their own. Journal reference: PNAS, DOI:

 

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